Remote Learning: The New Normal?

USD graduate student Allyson Meyer studying remotely

A TRIO OF STUDENTS REFLECT ON THE CHANGES WROUGHT BY COVID-19

We may be separated, but there’s no doubt we’re still together.

Sitting at a desk in my makeshift home office, I marvel over the ability to remain connected and engaged, even as I maintain a safe physical distance from others. As soon as the little green light on my computer confirms I am Zoom conferencing, I assume the role of a third year MBA student with the University of San Diego School of Business. This routine is repeated throughout the week, with each class unique, hands-on and impactful.

With the COVID-19 global pandemic, what it means to go to school has changed. Not just for me as a part-time graduate student, but for students worldwide. As I sit interacting with classmates from the safety of my home, discussing well-known brands and successful marketing campaigns, it’s clear this format is new and there will be challenges, but we’re all in this together.

Through the Student Lens

For undergraduate student Grace Preble, the move to remote learning has been an adjustment. A USD Radio DJ and liberal studies major, Preble was settling into her first year on campus when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the Oregon native to return to Portland for the spring 2020 semester.

Undergraduate student Grace Preble.

Undergraduate student Grace Preble.

“Adjusting to the challenges that COVID-19 has presented this semester has definitely felt like a balancing act. Remote learning has been quite the adjustment because most of my classes were not meant for the online format. My professors have been very understanding and communicative thus far, but I think online classes have definitely posed a challenge for the students just as much as the professors.

“For me, remaining grounded in what’s important has let me keep a more positive outlook. I’m reminded to take my days as they come and keep pushing forward, because honestly, that’s all we can do right now. I just feel grateful I’m still able to take my courses and keep in touch with my friends. The Facetime calls, emails and letters let me know I’m not in this alone.”

San Diego native Ava Bellizzi was finishing up her undergraduate career at USD when the COVID-19 pandemic meant the rest of her senior year would be completed remotely. For this mechanical engineering honors student, her positive outlook ensures each day offers new opportunities for growth, even as we face uncertainty.

“This is an incredibly devastating time in the world, and I recognize I have a lot to be grateful for. While my classes have changed in regard to

USD student Ava Bellizzi.

USD student Ava Bellizzi.

the format, I’m pleased by how smoothly we’ve transitioned to online learning. I believe that by viewing this situation as an opportunity to develop new skills, think outside the box, and engage with our community in alternative ways, we can emerge as stronger students and more versatile future professionals.

“We are truly all in this together. While this statement is repeated often, it aptly describes the global problem we all face and our responsibility to navigate it together. While each of us might face different challenges, both now and in the future, we are not alone. The USD community remains as strong as ever, and I know we will continue to thrive until we can all be together again on campus.”

This connectivity and shared commitment to learning, even as the world experiences uncertainty, is inspiring and humbling. We may all be dealing with this pandemic differently, worried about loved ones, dealing with employment concerns and trying to wrap our heads around each day of this new normal. What is clearly evident is, despite this upheaval, our passion for learning won’t change, our desire to be civically engaged won’t falter and our commitment to our shared existence grows stronger. – Allyson Meyer ’16 (BA), ’21 (MBA)

Above photo: Allyson Meyer ’16 (BA), ’21 (MBA) studying remotely in April 2020.

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